• Feb 12, 2007

It sounds so absurd it hardly seems worth entertaining. But it seemed just as unlikely for diesel-powered prototype-class race cars to dominate at Le Mans until Audi did just that. Now Peugeot is following suit with its own high-tech, state-of-the-art diesel race car, the 908 LM, which the French company hopes can do for them what the R10 did for Audi. With over 700 horsepower from an all-aluminum 5.5-liter twelve-cylinder common-rail direct-injection twin-turbo diesel (try saying that three times fast), the sleek cat just might.

Marc Gené came to a different conclusion after driving the 908 for the first time, though: "Having driven the Peugeot, I think that diesel is a feasible route for F1 in the future." Gené is joining the Peugeot team at Le Mans right after he re-signed as a test driver for Scuderia Ferrari, but with a limit on testing imposed by the FIA, he has a little more time on his hands.

Diesels still bear a certain lethargic stigma, but with modern diesel technology seemingly getting closer to gasoline engines with every passing day, some see it as only a matter of time. It would take a massive change in regulation by the FIA, but it would certainly make previous rule-changes like the abolishment of turbos and the switch to V8s seem like mere footnotes in motorsport history.

[Source: GrandPrix.com]



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  • 15 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      epp_b; I don't care, I'm going to buy a diesel car anyway
      • 7 Years Ago
      Of course F1 gas engines might run at extreme rpms, but they also have "oversquare" combustion chambers where stroke lengths are half the width of the piston. That helps increase horsepower, but does nothing for torque.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Diesels still bear a certain lethargic stigma, but with modern diesel technology seemingly getting closer to gasoline engines with every passing day, some see it as only a matter of time.

      I hate to burst your bubble, but that time has already past. Diesel fuel has more power per unit than gasoline. Always has, always will. With today's (and tomorrow's) technology, we can finally take advantage of that power.

      Forget everything you think you know about Diesel, it has all been proven wrong.

      --chuck

      • 7 Years Ago
      Diesel isn't going to happen unless they limit the number of gears to 5 from 7.

      From the full power torque curve from the Ferrari F1-2000, 250ft-lbs@14,000rpm, 665hp
      So without the variable length intake air horns, a 2.4V8 is 'only' going to make ~500hp@14,000, it is a good place to start, running up to the rules limited 19,000
      • 7 Years Ago
      I like Diesels, as I drive a Ibiza Cupra TDI, and this "news" is rely great ...

      But, i don't know if F1 is the right place for Diesel to start. WRC would be better ...

      An with Subaru making a Diesel-Boxer motor, this could be something interesting. I would like to see Diesel vs Petrol in the same Racing Class ... ;)
      • 7 Years Ago
      Good for Ferrari...show us how it can be done in the F1.
      More than ample power, greater torque, better fuel mileage per gallon, and durability may be a
      few reasons for driving a car with a diesel engine.
      Why do we let the rest of the automotive world lead the way with diesel power?
      Audi is proving or has proved the value and power a diesel can provide in a F1 race car. They have used one in an R8.
      Why can't the American consumer see the potential of
      diesel power? Why can't the American dealers import the diesel powered cars? Mercedes and VW are not the only manufacturers of diesel powered vehicles.

      Hopefully we will see more diesels if the Japanese follow through with their plans.
      We probably will not see one in an American car until everyone else is far ahead of the pack.

      Maybe the F1s will demonstrate the feasibilities and possibilities a diesel engine can provide if placed in a regular automobile.

      • 7 Years Ago
      "You can have all the power in the world, but it's useless if you can only access it in the last 500 ... RPMs before the redline."

      Ironically epp_b, in a Diesel it is just the opposite. All your power comes at the FIRST 500 rpm. ;)

      heh

      --chuck
      • 7 Years Ago
      the biggest problem with diesel is that it burns slow and that limits RPM. there wont be any 19k rpm diesel race engines. 6-7k max.

      • 7 Years Ago
      The road blocks that that FIA would put up - for what ever reason they might have - would almost make it impossible for a dramatic technological change like this to take place in F1. The FIA is too political, to arrogant, narrow minded and very indecisive when it comes to F1. Those monkeys are largely responsible for the state that F1 is in now, with their constant changes of regulations - midway through the season - as well as some real dumb-assed ideas that they bring to F1.

      So, for get about seeing diesel in F1!

      #2, if you want to demonstrate to Americans that diesels can kick butt, then you have to put them into NASCAR. Americans don't watch F1.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Clearly you have to allow turbocharging for diesel engines to have any chance of competing fairly.

      How about restricting diesels to 1.6 litres instead of the the 2.4 allowed for petroleum spirit (gas) engines?

      • 7 Years Ago
      Of course diesels in F1 would be turbocharged? It'd be the most stupid thing ever if they weren't, I can't even think of one diesel car (car, not truck or whatever that I don't care about) that isn't turbocharged (and this is Australia where we have a lot of modern diesel passenger cars).
      • 7 Years Ago
      As much as I would like to see Diesels in F1 for what it has done to advance the state-of-the-art of engine technology (at least more so in earlier years), I frankly don't see it happening unless there are significant changes to the current framework of FIA rules. For one thing, the equivalence formulas that would certainly apply would be unwieldly. I mean, how do you equate a small-displacement, 19000 RPM, normally-aspirated engine to a necessarily turbocharged engine? And speaking as someone inside engine research, I don't see Diesels as we know it matching the revs capable in current gasoline F1 engines.

      The only way this could happen is a drastic shift in F1 rules. One way this could play out is a return to employing air restrictors and introducing a rule to fixed the amount of fuel available to each team per race (that amount equated on an energy content basis but otherwise independent of the type of fuel itself). Then teams would be left to their own devices of what technologies they want to employ.

      Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen because of F1's stated goal to cap development costs by freezing engine designs. If this Ferrari guy knows something we don't, GREAT, bring on the Diesels! But interpreting the text of the original article, this seems to me as nothing more than speculation gone rampant of someone of influence's opinion that Diesels are cool after having driven one. On that I would have to agree. :)
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